Monday, November 2, 2020

My awesome new sit-stand desk



Welcome to my office.

It's awesome!

If you have a home office, and you would like to make your home office more awesome than it already is, this is the episode you have been waiting for.

This is the story of how, after some hesitation - I don't like change any more than any of my fellow primates - I bit the bullet, ditched my very modern and functional metal-and-glass L-shaped desk that served me well for many years, and went for a Progressive sit-stand Corner-Ryzer desk. It's a slice of heaven that maximizes my workspace like nothing I have had before, while giving me the flexibility to work while standing, just as easily as I do sitting.

There is no point in going into too much detail here, because the video pretty much says it all...

Well almost all.

If you pay close attention in the video you will see a couple of little tempting tidbits that went unmentioned.

The trashcan solution 

I have long been an early adopter of technology that makes my life more enjoyable and efficient and I have been adopting and taming computers for a very long time. I was among the very first lawyers (first in my firm, among the first in Canada) to begin using a computer in my practice and I have never looked back. I love what computers have allowed me to accomplish, but I hate, loathe, and despise the sprawling mess of wires that snakes from the computer to monitors, keyboards, mouses, printers, scanners, modems, routers, and all the rest of the digital universe.

Bluetooth and WiFi eliminated a lot of wiring, and iMacs eliminated a bunch of other wires, BUT there are far too many wires still left to corral.

In the video if you pay very close attention you will notice that there is only one wire that tethers my new Progressive desk to the ground. That lone wire is the power cable that goes to the surge suppressing power bar that now lives on the Signum rack. But why does it seem to come out of a trashcan?

That's because it does.


I have been using trashcans for a long time to tame wire messes.

In this case, what you don't see is that there is a power bar in the trashcan. There is a rectangular hole in the bottom back side of the trashcan. The power bar cable exits that hole and plugs into the outlet that is just behind the shredder. The power cable from the shredder, extensions from Ikea cabinet lighting in my book case, the printer, fridge and microwave power cables all enter from the back of the trashcan and plug into the unseen power bar. The power bar cable that comes down from the desk enters from the top of the trashcan and plugs into the trashcan power bar as well. There is enough excess length of cable from the desk to allow the desk to rise to its maximum height of 50 inches. When the desk lowers, that excess cable coils into the trashcan. NO WIRE MESS!

I have used that approach to manage excess wire for many years. 

The other application in our home is in the den next to my office.


This is where the network stuff does its magic. All the wires from this installation, mostly power supply wires and ethernet connections, are corralled and tie-wrapped along the back of this console table, and the excess snakes down in a kind of umbilical cord into the trash can where the power bars, power adapters, and other stuff is all jumbled into a single contained mess in the trashcan.

This approach is the best I have found to solve this messy challenge, short of cutting and splicing custom cables.

In my last real office job, I had a super modern office with a minimal desk on casters. In that case I mounted the trashcan to the bottom of the desk, and a single umbilical cord exited the bottom of the trashcan to connect to power and ethernet receptacles in the floor (the office tower was maximized for cabling so there was a raised modular floor). The umbilical cord was long enough that I was able to move my desk around my office to maximize my workflow, in that case in the horizontal plane.

Now I roam in the vertical plane.

If my office was in a loft space, the Progressive desk can have casters installed, and then I'd be able to roam in three dimensions. How cool would that be? 

The wireless lighting solution

I am as obsessed with room lighting as I am with taming wire messes.

Elsewhere in our home I use Lutron and WeMo stuff, connected to digital bridges that in turn connect to the home network via ethernet and WiFi.

In the office the connected lighting is mostly Ikea. I won't get into the Ikea cast of weird character names for all the devices. Suffice to say that there are bookcase lighting units, bookcase spotlights, and individual lamp bulbs, that all communicate via a bridge to the network, as well as via wireless remote controls.

And that is what those round controls are beside the Progressive desk control thingy.

It's really kind of cool. The remote controls come with a magnetic housing so that you can mount the housing but still pluck the remote off if it is useful to control the lighting from somewhere else.

In this case I have two remotes.

The one nearest to Progressive controller is for the office lighting.


The other one controls an Ikea smart bulb that I have mounted in an inexpensive spotlight housing. I use that for studio lighting. When I'm not recording video in the office, the spotlight is clamped to the desk frame, out of sight.



The extension that powers the light is hidden in my Distinguished Gentleman's Ride helmet that lives for 364 days of the year on the bookcase. The helmet looks cool, but it's uncomfortable, and without doubt not very safe.


With that little exposition, I have no office secrets left to share with you - unless I have to take into account my little inkwell collection, my little library, my little wine fridge, my office tool kits... 

Who knows, I may one day go there.

Here are links to the suppliers and products mentioned in this episode:

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Blurry Vision by Corbyn Kites, New Morning by TrackTribe, and Minor Blues for Booker by E's Jammy Jams, all  made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library.

Thank you for stopping by!

4 comments:

RichardM said...

I had a standing desk for my last couple of years at the university. I mounted network and USB hubs to the underside of the desk as well as the power strips and a KVM switch. The KVM switch was for the handful of servers I used on a regular basis. One Mac Mini with 32 TB of disk storage and a couple of Raspberry Pis that I was experimenting with.

Nice setup.

David Masse said...

@Richard, thanks for the compliment Richard, it means the world coming from you!

I have seen fascinating things done with Raspberry Pis. My only experience is unfortunately limited to raspberry pies. I am trying to lose some weight so all pies are presently to be avoided at all costs.

SonjaM said...

Very neat office space, David. Right up my alley. I used to work for a company manufacturing motorized sit-stand desks. Of course our work places were all equipped with these. Now I am spoiled and will never go back to a normal desk.

David Masse said...

@Sonja, it's amazing how much we have in common (pushes button, rises with desk, bows in appreciation).

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